Quarterly Newsletters

The Armbruster Capital Management News & Education section of our website incorporates articles and newsletter specifically geared towards issues that our clients are facing today.

Economic and Investment Overview – Q1 2019 Newsletter

Lately, the stock market has been a lot like the weather in Rochester, NY. If you don’t like it, you only have to wait three months for things to radically change. The fourth quarter of last year was one of the worst since the Great Depression. But we didn’t have to wait long for redemption. It arrived early this year, with a 13.6% gain in the first quarter (see market segment returns in the nearby graph).

A True Investment Loss – Q1 2019 Newsletter

Perhaps the fiercest advocate for the individual investor and shareholder rights ever to walk the planet died during the first quarter: John C. Bogle, who preferred to be called Jack by his legion of friends, founder of the Vanguard Group. Jack was best known for launching the first index mutual fund in 1976. This new approach to investing would ultimately revolutionalize the entire industry

Compliance Corner – Q1 2019 Newsletter

We are in a highly regulated business, which causes a few headaches, but regulations are largely good; they offer our clients important protections. There are certain disclosures that we are required to make regularly regarding our policies and procedures.

Portfolio Review – Q4 2018 Newsletter

Stocks posted their worst returns since 2008 last year. Most of the damage occurred in the fourth quarter when stocks dropped 13.5%. This was the 12th worst quarterly performance since the Great Depression.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? – Q4 2018 Newsletter

The stock market declined by 4.4% in 2018. It was the first year stocks posted a loss since 2008. The S&P 500 rose 20% in 2017, 12% in 2016, and more than 13% annualized over the last decade. Yet, a one-year decline of 4% has caused all sorts of consternation. I admit that the peak-to-trough loss was much larger (17.5% so far), and the fourth quarter was one of the worst on record (down 13.5% in just three months).

Alternatives Out Of Focus – Q4 2018 Newsletter

They say all the world loves a clown. That may be true, but one thing I know that is even truer is that all the world currently hates alternative investments.

Flourish Cash Management – Q4 2018 Newsletter

Interestingly, cash was the best performing asset class in 2018, earning 1.8%. That’s a pretty meager return, but it was better than losing money in stocks or breaking even in bonds.

Portfolio Review – Q3 2018 Newsletter

The third quarter of 2018 was a mixed bag for investors. Stocks, at least domestic stocks, performed admirably. The S&P 500 rose 7.7% in the quarter and is now up 10.6% year-to-date. Small-cap stocks have performed even better so far this year, rising 14.5%.

Mid-term Elections and the Market – Q3 2018 Newsletter

The mid-term elections are right around the corner. That means that the phone is ringing with questions about how the elections could impact the stock market. Generally, we prefer to keep politics and investing separate, but we grudgingly accept that they can influence one another in the short run.

Firm News – Q3 2018 Newsletter

October 1st was our ten-year anniversary. It is true that Armbruster Capital was incorporated a little over nine years ago. However, Mark started working at our predecessor firm, and building what would become Armbruster Capital, a decade ago.

Eight More Years of Economic Expansion? – Q3 2018 Newsletter

Where is the US economy headed?
Recent news coverage about an inverted yield curve, potential trade wars, and troubles in emerging markets have created some unease.

Portfolio Review – Q2 2018 Newsletter

While it may come as a surprise, the second quarter of 2018 was actually quite strong for stock investors. The S&P 500 rose 3.4%, mid-cap stocks gained 4.3%, and small-cap stocks returned almost 9.0%. Even REITs rebounded in the quarter for a gain of 7.8%.

A Tale of Two Markets – Q2 2018 Newsletter

Certainly, we’re in a divided age currently where the glass could look half full or half empty depending on which side of the political aisle you sit. Unfortunately, that has been true for some time now. The same dynamic is also at play in the stock market.

Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults – Q2 2018 Newsletter

The SEC recently approved two new rules: (1) the adoption of new FINRA Rule 2165 (Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults) to permit members to place temporary holds on disbursements of funds or securities from the accounts of customers where there is a reasonable belief of financial exploitation of these customers; and

Portfolio Review – Q1 2018 Newsletter

Volatility has returned. While stock market returns were truly remarkable in 2017, the good times only continued into late January of this year. Since then, the market declined more than 8% from its peak into the end of the quarter. However, the downturn isn’t the real story.

Alternatives In Focus: Alternative Lending – Q1 2018 Newsletter

We started using the Stone Ridge Alternative Lending fund (LENDX) roughly a year and a half ago. It has returned around 6% annualized since we started investing, which is in-line with our long-term expectations for alternative investments.

Small Cap Value…Time to Shine? – Q1 2018 Newsletter

Small-cap value stocks have been uniquely poor performers recently. They posted strong returns in 2016, but otherwise, each of the past seven years small-cap value stocks have either significantly lagged or just barely beat large-cap growth stocks.

Current Thinking – Q4 2017 Newsletter

With the exception of Donald Trump and Bitcoin, stock market valuations seem to be making the most headlines these days.

Index Investing – Q4 2017 Newsletter

Index investing was much in the news in 2017. An article in the Wall Street Journal in late November noted that U.S. index funds have seen cash inflows of around $1.7 trillion since 2009, compared with outflows of nearly $1 trillion for actively-managed mutual funds. Another article noted that investors had collectively invested $436.5 billion this year into index funds globally through December 20, according to EPFR Global.

Alternatives in Focus – Q4 2017 Newsletter

While 2017 was a great year for stocks, it was mediocre for alternative investments. The benchmark index we often look at, the HFRI Fund-Weighted Composite Index, earned 8.5% last year. While that isn’t too bad, our alternative investments did not produce returns in that range.

Portal Launch – Q4 2017 Newsletter

With the new technology we implemented last year, we have been able to offer clients a portal to log into their accounts to run various detailed reports on their portfolios. We believe this has been a great success.

2018 Tax Facts – Q4 2017 Newsletter

1.$18,500 maximum salary deferral to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan (up $500 from 2017).

Compliance Corner – Q4 2017 Newsletter

We are in a highly regulated business, which causes a few headaches, but is largely a good thing that offers our clients important protections. There are certain disclosures we are required to make regularly regarding our policies and procedures. A few of them are

Socially Responsible Investing in the US

Today, socially responsible investing, or SRI, accounts for around 25 percent of all managed assets in the U.S. The percentage is even higher in Europe and is rising fast in parts of Asia. SRI investing can take many forms, but the most popular is negative screening. That means excluding companies that participate in undesirable activities, such as the manufacture of tobacco products, weapons or fossil fuels. However…

Portfolio Review – Q3 2017 Newsletter

The third quarter of 2017 was one of continued political strife at home, missile launches and increasing tension in Asia, several devastating natural disasters, and efforts by the Federal Reserve to slow the economy. In the face of that, the stock market rose to record highs.

Identity Theft – Q3 2017 Newsletter

By now, everyone is aware of the massive data breach at Equifax. Something like 143 million Americans had their personal information exposed in the hack. That effectively means that every American adult was impacted. You can check to see if you are on the list here: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. I’ll bet you are.

Alternatives In Focus: Reinsurance – Q3 2017 Newsletter

Our alternative investment portfolio was looking pretty good through August of this year. All of the funds except one were in the black, and returns were on track for around a 6% gain. Then September hit.

The Market Is Going Up – Q3 2017 Newsletter

What if someone told you that there was more upside in the market from today’s levels? What if they said it could rise 4,445% from here?

Tax Planning Time – Q3 2017 Newsletter

As hard as it may be to believe, yearend is just around the corner, and that means it is time to think about tax planning. This year, it seems that year-end tax planning is facing a perfect storm of unknowns.

Firm News – Q3 2017 Newsletter

We may have announced it before, but we recently updated our website. There are a host of resources there, including electronic versions of all our newsletters, articles, and even a few videos. We try to send most of this to you directly, but there are a few items that you likely missed.

Portfolio Review – Q2 Newsletter

The rally in investment assets continued in the second quarter of 2017. All major asset classes earned positive returns for the quarter, and most have posted very strong returns year-to-date.

Alternatives in Focus – Q2 Newsletter

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about our alternative investments recently, so we thought we would introduce a new, at least quasi-regular, column in our newsletter  focusing on this asset class. We’ll talk this time about  why we  use alternative investments, but in the future, we’ll do a deeper review of some of the funds.

Firm News – Q2 Newsletter

We recently added a new team member. Craig Julien joined us in early June to help us with our systems, operations, and IT. Craig has a couple decades of experience in the IT industry, most recently with the accounting firm EFPR Group. Accordingly, Craig knows firsthand about data security and the importance of confidentiality in the financial industry. He’s already done a great job of tweaking our systems so they are more efficient and user friendly, and we’re looking forward to some enhancements that will make electronic account access easier for our clients as well.

Indexing Fares Well Over the Long Term

Standard & Poor’s recently released its biannual study of mutual fund performance. S&P looks at the performance of actively-managed mutual funds versus appropriate stock market indices to see if the funds, as a group, added value for their investors.

Portfolio Review – Q1 Newsletter

The first quarter of 2017 was a solid one for stock investors. Large-cap stocks rose over 6.0% in the quarter, as measured by the returns of the S&P 500 index. Historically, election years and the first year of a Presidential term are the strongest for stocks, and 2017 is shaping up to follow the historic pattern.

Stock Market Valuation

It is conference season, which means we’ve been on the road lately meeting with fund companies and hearing about their latest research. One point that virtually everyone is making these days is that traditional asset classes (stocks and bonds) are richly valued, and likely won’t generate the same level of returns in the future that we have experienced historically.

The ACM Journal 2016 Q4

Portfolio Review The financial markets were a mixed bag in 2016. Despite early volatility, stocks ended the year on a

The ACM Journal 2016 Q3

Portfolio Review Investment returns in the third quarter were strong and rewarded risk taking. Looking at the U.S. stock market,

The ACM Journal 2016 Q2

Portfolio Review The stock market performed quite well in the second quarter, earning 2.5%. This is surprising, because had the

The ACM Journal 2014 Q2

REIT Valuations at All Time Highs Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are stocks that invest in real estate and mortgages.

The ACM Journal 2016 Q1

We Shall Overcomb “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” - Mark Twain You may not

The ACM Journal 2015 Q4

The Year in Review Investment returns in 2015 were not as bad as in 2008. That is the only positive

The ACM Journal 2015 Q3

Portfolio Review As evidenced by the chart below, the third quarter was nothing short of awful for investors. Practically every

The ACM Journal 2015 Q2

Portfolio Review Despite some volatility, the stock market was performing reasonably well in the second quarter. That is right up

The ACM Journal 2015 Q1

A Forecast for Volatility Those who regularly make forecasts of the economy, stock market and interest rates are typically wrong.

The ACM Journal 2014 Q4

Portfolio Review   The good news is that the stock market had a strong year in 2014. The S&P 500

The ACM Journal 2014 Q3

What to do if the Stock Market Corrects   Lately, volatility seems to have returned to the stock market. It is

The ACM Journal 2013 Q4

Are Stocks Overvalued and Ready to Correct? We have fielded a lot of questions lately about the level of the

The ACM Journal 2014 Q1

Capital Markets Review   The first quarter of 2014 was generally solid for most segments of the capital markets. Domestic

The ACM Journal 2013 Q3

The third quarter of 2013 started out on a positive note, with strong gains in the stock market during July.

The ACM Journal 2013 Q2

Despite overhyped fears that the Fiscal Cliff and subsequent budget sequester would derail economic growth, send us headlong into another recession,

The ACM Journal 2013 Q1

Despite overhyped fears that the Fiscal Cliff and subsequent budget sequester would derail economic growth, send us headlong into another recession,

The ACM Journal 2012 Q4

It was a year of crises. We started the year with Greece in turmoil, which then spread to many of

The ACM Journal 2012 Q3

The third quarter started on a volatile note in the capital markets as investors tried to gauge the direction of

The ACM Journal 2012 Q2

The second quarter of 2012 began on a sour note for stock investors. April was a month of ups and

The ACM Journal 2012 Q1

After a rocky 2011, the capital markets started with a bang in the first quarter of 2012 . The S&P

The ACM Journal 2011 Q4

After posting strong gains in 2009 and 2010, the stock market embarked on 2011 in fine fashion. The S&P 500

The ACM Journal 2011 Q3

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the global stock markets performed dismally in the third quarter. The

The ACM Journal 2011 Q2

Back in the early 1990s two finance professors, Eugene Fama and Ken French, published a paper that described the sources

The ACM Journal 2011 Q1

The first quarter of 2011 brought all manner of nastiness around the globe. Protests and regime changes in the Middle